13 Million Children, Nearly 1 in 6, are in Poverty

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The number of children living below the federal poverty line decreased 0.5 percentage points from 2016 to 2017 (Fig. 57). The child poverty rate has fluctuated since 1980, hitting its highest rate in 1993 at 22.7% and its lowest rate in 2000 at 16.2%.

Between 2010 and 2017, the number of homeless K-12 students increased from 0.93 million to 1.35 million. 14% of them are staying at shelters, transitional housing, or are awaiting foster care (Fig. 58). 76% have had to “double up,” meaning they are staying with friends and family due to loss of permanent housing.

Since 1998, the rate of children living in foster care per 100,000 children has fallen from 783 to 601 (Fig. 60). This rate hit its lowest in 2012 at 538 but has gradually risen since then. Additionally, the percentage of children in foster care who are White has increased by 9 percentage points, from 35% to 44%, while the percentage of children in foster care who are Black has fallen by 20 percentage points, from 43% to 23% (Fig. 59).